Tsavo West National Park
Tsavo West National Park. This fine National Park covers a huge variety of landscapes, from Swamps and natural springs to rocky peaks, extinct volcanic cones to rolling plains, and sharp reddish outcrops dusted with greeny. It`s easily the more attractive of the two parks, but wildlife can be hard to spot because of the dense scrub. Birds are very common, and there are large populations of Elephants, Zebras, Hippos, and leopards. Loins are out there, but they tend to hide most of the time especially when the sun is too hot during the day.
The focus is Mzima Springs, which produces an incredible 93 million gallons of freshwater a day. The springs are the source of the bulk of Mombasa`s freshwater, and you can walk down to a large pool that is a favorite haunt of hippos and crocodiles. There`s an underwater viewing chamber, which unfortunately just gives a view of thousands of primeval-looking fish. Be a little careful here- both hippos and crocs are potentially dangerous.
Chaimu crater, just southeast of Kilaguni Serena lodge and the Roaring rocks viewpoint, can be climbed in about 15 minutes.
The views from either spot the stunning, with falcon, eagles, and buzzards whirling over the plains. While there is little danger walking these trails, be aware that the wildlife is still out there.
Another attraction is the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, at the base of Ngulia Hills, part of the Rhino Ark program. The 70 sq. km area is surrounded by a 1 m. high electric fence and provides a measure of security for Tsavo West`s 49 black rhinos. There driving tracks and waterholes within the enclosed area, and there`s a good chance of seeing one of these elusive creatures.
Some of the more unusual species to look out for in the park included naked mole-rat and the enigmatically named white-bellied go-away bird, which is often seen perched in dead trees. Red-beaked hornbills and bateleur eagles are also common here.
It`s possible to go rock-climbing at Tembo peak and the Ngulia hills, but you`ll need to arrange this in advance with the park Adventure Maasai Mara.
Located southwest end of the park, is reached by a desperately dusty track from near Taveta. You can high boats at the campsite to take your hippo and crocodile spotting on the lake. Huge herds of African Elephants come to the Lake to quench their thirst, and large flocks of Migratory birds stop here from February to May and this is the time for bird watchers.
There is no real budget accommodation in Tsavo West. Campers can use the public campsites kamboyo, near Mtito Adei Gate, or a choice of special campsites.
Nguria Safari Camp
Formerly Ngulia bandas, new management, and a complete renovation have turned this hillside camp into Tsavo`s best luxury bargain, offering thatched tent–fronted stone cottages right on the edge of the escarpment. Rooms come with or without a kitchen and there is a small bar/restaurant.
Severin Safari Camp
This is a fantastic complex of thatched luxury tents, with affable staff, Kilimanjaro views from the communal lounge area, and nightly hippo visitations.
The camp also has a simple but excellent self-catering annex, Kitani Bandas.
Kilaguni Serena Lodge
Kilaguni has recently been renovated and is as attractive a place as ever, with a splendid bar and restaurant.
Fish Hatton`s Safari Camp
An upmarket tented camp in fine old colonial style. It`s situated among springs and hippo pools in the west of the park, with grounds so sprawling you have to take an escort at night.
A luxury tented place by the Ziwani Gate at the southwest end of the park, overlooking Ziwa Dam.
Ngulia Safari Lodge
A curiously unattractive block in a spectacular location, constructed in the bad old days of emerging mass tourism. There are water holes right by the restaurant and sweeping views of Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.